Why a 600cc Motorcycle is Not a Good Beginner Bike (updated)

Remember when you were first learning to drive a car? You fumbled with the clutch, you killed it multiple times, lots of starts and stops. In my family when we were taught how to drive we used one of the older cars in our garage, that way if something happened the good cars wouldn't be damaged.

Learning to drive was very frustrating to me at first, I couldn't figure out how to operate the clutch and smoothly shift gears in a way that didn't jerk everyone around. I was very happy to learn in that 10 year old car, it made things much easier for me. The first time I drove my moms brand new Subaru WRX I nearly steered into the fence because I wasn't used to a car with such a sensitive gas pedal.


Imagine first learning to drive not in an old beater car, but a brand new Lamborghini! The idea of that might sound pretty cool, but for anyone that has driven a high performance car you know that everything about it means business. It accelerates blisteringly fast, it brakes are so powerful they can lock up even WITH anti-lock brakes. Definitely not a forgiving first car. To top that off you have to be extra careful so you don't scratch that crisp yellow paint job or bang your chromed dual exhaust on a speed bump.

Upping the Difficulty

Now take that example and add 2 things: Keeping 300+ pounds balanced on 2 wheels, and keeping the front end down. With a car you don't have to worry about balance at all, 4 wheels really helps with that, but with a motorcycle if you're going less than 5 mph you really need to watch your balance. Turning the motorcycle at all also requires balance, too much lean one way or another and you either end up on the pavement or wrapped around a telephone pole. Motorcycles have incredible acceleration and they require a lot of throttle control to operate properly. If you give a fast car too much gas all you are going to do is peel out, if you do that same thing on a motorcycle you could easily pull a wheelie and flip the bike. Most modern 600cc motorcycle are built for the race track, the only thing that makes them street legal is adding blinkers, headlights and a license plate. Even 500cc motorcycle will out accelerate all but the fastest cars in a quarter mile race, imagine what a 600cc, or a 1000cc motorcycle can do!

Start Small

Do yourself a favor and when you get your first motorcycle buy something that is smaller than 600ccs, and preferable naked so you don't have to worry about scratching the fairings if you drop it in a parking lot. I was extremely careful and even I dropped my first motorcycle 2 times in the parking lot, and once at a stoplight (tuck in those laces while you ride or they will catch on your pegs!). It's definitely not an uncommon to hear of someone wrecking their brand new motorcycle less than a week after they leave the dealership. Not only will that hurt your pride, but it will also hurt your wallet and your body!


I cant remember if I posted this somewhere else here already or not, but I cant find my original post(if I did), so I thought I would post it again. I've been really enjoying your webpage, and a lot of your articles seem right on the money to me. I'm just beginning life as a motorcycle rider, (about to take the safety course, then buy my first bike). I would really like to see a place where I could post general comments about your page, maybe suggestions of motorcycles to review, ideas for articles, etc. For example, why arent there any reviews of dual sports? I would think that they would be high on the list of suggested beginner bikes (light, small farings, intuitive ergonomics, plus the versatility!) What about scooters as beginner bikes? I know why I wouldn't choose one, but I know a lot of people who are into the hipster/vespa image (especially chicks!). Also, could you tell us a bit about yourselves? Whats your background? Who are you? Why should we trust your opinion over our buddies who swear that everyone's first street bike should be at least 600ccs, to 'teach you some respect'?

Thank you for your great page, I can tell you like what you are doing, and I greatly appreciate it!


Thanks very much! You read my mind, I'm actually working on a forum for this site as we speak, so look for a forum button on the navigation soon. I will also be adding some user accounts and stuff too so different people will be able to e-mail each other and stuff.

When it comes to dual sports, the main reason I haven't reviewed any is I don't know that much about them! I've been warming up to them more and more, and if you have any suggestions of a particular one you would like reviewed feel free to reply to this post with a list :)

Editor and Owner of BBM


Editor and Owner of BBM

wow, this was actually very informative. I have a couple years before I can legally operate a motorcycle but I would have never thought to start small, all that was going through my head was speed and more speed. Not a bright way to look at things but I'm glad I found this.

well, i just received my motorcycle endorsement, i tood the msf safety course. i have the funds ready to buy a bike. but i am having a very difficult time deciding which one. it is between a suzuki sv 650 or a 2002 cbr 600 f4i. but after reading the reviews and the beginners guide i am skeptical, i have been in love with ninjas for years and years, i would like the 250, but i am 5'9'' and 220 lbs, so i feel it will be underpowered compared to the other two. i have driven a couple cbrs already, and they feel good, but like i said, skeptical about the size of the engine of the ninja 250. any suggestions?

You do realize you are considering 375 pound motorcycles with 72 and 110 horsepower as your first bike, as compared with one that has 32 hp, all of which can pull over 100 mph. If the Ninja really feels too small, I would say maybe to the sv 650 and price the insurance on all 3 before you fall in love with the CBR 600 f4i

i did the insurance pricing and everything. crunched some numbers, and the winner came out the cbr. (it's resale value is better) so i am getting a 2002 honda cbr 600f4i with 5k miles on it, for about 4 grand. it is sweeeeeeeeet. that and im getting his gear, like jacket gloves helmet and everything. and insurance for the year, full coverage with $500 deductibles and underinsured and uninsured for about 600 for the year. not too shabby.

eeeexcellent, you won't be lacking on power for some time to come with that one! Do be careful, it's a total rocket ship you have there and there's no need to prove it.

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del mar auto glass

I agree that if you have never been on a motorcycle, dirt bike, or driven a vehicle with a Manuel transmission you should not get a dresser. but if you go and get a small enduro, Honda rebel, s40, or even a 250 ninja the fact of the matter is you're going to grow bord of it and want a bigger bike anyway. I am not trying to say they are not good bikes but you're soon going to want a little more.

when I was 14 I bought a 1980 yamaha xs 400 to fix up and learn to ride on. The guy I bought it from didnt have a title because it was lost in a fire. I fixed up the bike and rode it around the neighborhood for the summer just to get use to the "feel of the road." I never hit anything over 30mph and Its a rural area but I learned from it. when I turned 15 I bought the same bike this time with a title but the bike needed lots of work. Instead of just taking the parts off the one bike and putting it on the new one I started to cut up the frame to make a bobber. the bike is a nice ride but being only 400cc and having a close gear ratio 6 speed trans kinda robs the practicality of an enjoyable ride.

just a few weeks ago I found a 03 triumph bonneville se on craigslist for around bluebook price and I fell in love with the modern engineering/performance bike with the classic triumph look. I rode the bike about 100 miles the past weekend and it is the nicest bike I have ever been on. it has the power to get up and go but it is a great stable machine if you're gentle and dont have a heavy wrist. A light bike is nice to have, while there is a such thing as too light. some smaller 200cc-300cc bikes allow you to maneuver nicer and control the bike less carelessly but they get old fast (within a year or two you will want to upgrade)

So I guess what Im trying to say is that If youre going to get your first street bike get something that has a future and you can grow into.

And most of all do not buy showroom new> its easier to get a bike that has a few scratches in the paint, it makes it a lot easier on yourself when you add more dings and dents.


i dont think some much that a 600cc bike can be compared to a extreme sports car. My first bike was a Suzuki SV650s which is a pretty torque oriented bike so it is fast. But i say its not so much the bike its the person on a bike because even a 450 can go fast you just have to know your limits and not do more then your able to.

The above comment makes a lot of sense. It stands to reason that the bike is only going to move as fast as a rider makes it, and the whole idea is safety, skill and control. I suppose it's worth thinking about the fact that many more powerful engines are also heavier bikes, which would imply that it's going to take more power to accelerate as well.


I was curious why you haven't mentioned the Honda Shadow VLX as a good first bike. I will be taking the MSF beginners riding course in 2 weeks adn am trying to decide what bike to buy. After reading all of your posts, I've decided that perhaps the Sportster 883 is too much bike for a beginner. SInce the VLX is about 500cc, I was surprised that you don't recommend it for beginners. Is there something I should know that makes it unsuitable for beginner riders?

I do not recommend the VLX as a beginner bike. The four speed transmission is terrible to learn on. 1st gear is way too tall. I was nearly involved in a couple of accidents because I stalled the bike trying to launch or turn across traffic. Add to this the tiny tank and the gutless, cold-blooded engine and you have a thoroughly disappointing bike for a new rider. I dumped mine in 4 months for a Ninja 250 and never looked back.

I never had any riding experience and I jumped on a shadow vlx 600 and I think it is a very good bike to learn on. It took me about an hour to learn the basic how to start how to stop how to shift. I agree that the 4 speed is a pain in the ass but I cant understand how you could kill the engine. I have 1 time because I was making a sharp steep uphill turn and I didnt shift down to first other than that the only times its died is from the engine being cold. It isnt very heavy and it rides pretty well with a passanger. I have gotten my 5 foot 6 sister to ride it and she doesnt have much problem so I would encourage it as a first bike especially since they arent too expensive. it has enough power to keep up with traffic and get out of some tight situations but it isnt so big its hard to control. it has enough speed if handled correctly Ive beaten a 750 virago 5 speed in multiple races so it does have some power. any way sorry to blabber on the point is I would recommend the shadow.

I have a 2002 Honda Shadow VLX that I bought new. The 1999 and newer ones need a rejet kit added to have decent takeoff power, since they went from two carbs to one that year, and the clutch is a little trickier than my previous two bikes. I also kept searching for fifth gear at first, but the 4-speed seemed fine after a few weeks.

Even with rejetting, I leave the choke knob out about half an inch for the first half mile of riding, after a 3 minute warmup before taking off, so the cold engine stumbling is greatly reduced. The radiator fan hardly ever comes on- these engines are known for going 300,000 miles before a rebuild, probably because some of the cooling parts were designed larger to also use for the TransAlp dirt bike, and they have cooling fins added to look more like the Harley Softail they copy, at half the engine size and one third the price. I ride it at 75 miles per hour for 100 miles at a time, but it is better at curvy 55mph country roads for 20 miles at a time.

I think the Honda VLX is a better second bike than a first bike- to me the ideal first bike for an adult is an old used 250cc dirt bike that you learn to ride on wet grass, handy for hitting a slick spot on pavement later on a heavier street bike. I started at 8 years old on a minibike that would cost $250 from a K-mart or a Pep Boys now.

I originally posted most of the following as an introduction from me to this forum [in the introduction section titled Old rider retuning to the road.] and, although some great advice has been given, I believe it may answer or help to answer some of the good questions posted by many people.

I was going to post a link, however, I will copy and paste the body of the text which includes advice on which first bike to purchase, also, I will relocate my introduction to the bottom of this page, so new riders can get to the meat of the advice:

I have read many posts from people asking questions about which should be their first motorcycle purchase. For those of you wondering about purchasing a new motorcycle to ride on the highway or street I suggest you visit dealers and sit on as many as you can. Have one of the staff, in cycle shops, hold on to the front tire to see if you can put both feet on the ground and let you move the bike slightly from side to side, to let you get a feel for the center of gravity [ease of movement leaning the bike left and right, not you, just the bike], don't lean the bike too far, you do not want to drop a heavy motorcycle that belongs to someone else.

For those that are considering a cruiser, they easily fit most people from 5'6" to just under 6' tall [height can be changed in various ways if you are too short]. If you are over 6' 1" see if you can enjoy the motorcycle you want to purchase before buying it [which means you will have to be insured if you ride]. Also, cruisers, especially medium to large, are long and low, which means they turn different than other types of motorcycles, and even people that have ridden light standard or dirt bikes will find it more difficult to turn at very low speed, it is something you will have to master.

If you have no experience riding, I suggest a motorcycle in the 250cc range and pass a safety course. Small riders will have no trouble getting to 70 mph, riders up to 235 pounds should expect up to 65 mph on most motorcycles with this engine size [unless you are very heavy, 350+ pounds], on flat ground. If you want to climb mountains then the 250cc will strain uphill, even with light riders. I do not suggest two light weight people on a bike this small on anything other than short trips around town or on less traveled two lane highways, level ground.

If are new to motorcycles and want to take long road trips in all areas of the country, I still suggest a small motorcycle to begin riding, then sell the bike [the internet is a great way to sell to individuals], and then purchase a larger motorcycle. For single riders, even heavy ones, 500cc is plenty of engine for almost any Eastern mountains. If you want to ride two up in the mountains, then a larger engine should be looked at, at least 750cc.

Because many people, if not everyone, drops their first bike, it might be a good idea to find a used motorcycle in very good condition. The less you pay for a good bike, the less you will lose if you damage it, although simple drops usually only cause small dings or break a turn light, which is a cheap fix, but a large dent in a gas tank will cost more, for example.

Also, the more you drop it on hard pavement the more visible damage you will do, such as scuffed or broken rubber on the throttle or clutch side and other ugly little marks. A good fitting, well balanced, light motorcycle will suffer fewer spills and will be easy to pick up. There is nothing like a young lady or man that weighs 120 pounds trying to pick up a dropped 600 pound fully fueled motorcycle.

Here is a search I did on eBay, not sure of your location, but look for condition and price. Sort by Price: Lowest First:


At oodle look for: Sort by Posted Date


Introduction of myself when I joined the forum:

I am not sure when I began riding motorcycles, my best guess would be somewhere in the early 1970s. I began with no instruction, riding a Honda 175. I purchased larger motorcycles through the years, the largest that I rode was a Honda CB 750, and back then it was considered a large motorcycle. I did not like that motorcycle because it was top heavy and too tall for me, as I am only 5'6" and weighed about 125 pounds.

I stopped riding around 1998 or 1999, so it has been a while since I have been on a bike [current date is April 2009].

Recently I purchased a Yamaha Virago 700 that came with bags and a comparatively small windshield. Because my 60th birthday is only three weeks or so away I wanted a motorcycle that was comfortable, low [to allow both of my feet to be on the ground, my inseam is 28 inches], shaft drive, non-spoke wheels [easier to fix a flat tire], at least 45 mpg [the more the better], windshield, bags, smooth running at 65 mph, enough power for the mountains of West Virginia, and hydraulic valves.

The biggest miss with the Virago is that it uses mechanical lifters.

The motorcycle that I most wanted was a Kawasaki Vulcan 750, my second choice was a Honda VT 750, and the Yamaha Virago 700 or 750 was a distant third.

Because of limited funds I was unable to find my first or second choice either because they sold before I got to them or, in the case of one Honda, there were too many mechanical problems that needed repaired [although it rode well]. Eventually I found an old 1985 Yamaha Virago 700 for $1575 that is in outstanding mechanical condition and looks very good, only one dent on a chrome side cover, the rest of the bike looked almost new [ a 9 out of 10], with only the smallest road rash [ a few 1/16 inch paint chips on one small area of the gas tank, so small you have to look for them].

The day I picked up the motorcycle I had to ride it almost 100 miles to my home. The temperature at the beginning of the ride was about 38 degrees and forecast rain. I have not purchased leather yet, however, I did purchase a good rain suit, unfortunately, the ride was still cold. I had planned to wear long underwear under my pants and had forgotten to put them on. Thank God that at that low temperature it did not begin to rain until I was about 10 miles from home.

The trip was mostly flat, open highway, but there were some back roads that had twists and hills, one of which was long and steep, plenty of power from those 700ccs though and the Virago climbed with ease.

After putting the motorcycle away I changed my wet socks and shoes [my boots were too large for the location of the shifter to safely use, new boots are next], then I settled on the sofa with a large glass of hot tea with honey.

As for the 1985 Yamaha Virago I recently purchased, it rides very smooth up to about 50mph, then begins to slowly increase vibration as speed increases. This motorcycle has no "cruse control" aka an inexpensive friction lock, so I accidentally hit 75mph a few times on the freeway and vibration had not nearly reached what I would call bad, in other words, cars were still clearly visible in the rear view mirrors. Roll on power was smooth and non-abrupt through all ranges. There are quicker motorcycles out there in the 750cc class, however, one of my criteria was good fuel economy and this motorcycle is advertised to get 50mpg combination city/highway, I will soon find out for myself.

Fuel economy was the reason that I ruled out Honda Magna, as they average about 38mpg city/highway. That motorcycle is basically a cruiser with a racing engine, which means higher RPM [which means lower fuel economy] to reach comparable speeds of other cruisers. Great bike, poor fuel economy in my opinion.

After a long absence from riding do I like this motorcycle? Yes. It was not my first choice, but it is good enough to pass muster.

Thank you for reading and enjoy safe riding.

Thanks for the post about yourself! I dont live in the bay area, but if I'm ever down there, I'll be sure to wave.

The motorcycle that I've been considering lately (I've been changing my mind a lot, since it doesnt cost me anything) is the Suzuki DRZ400E or its sibling the Suzuki DRZ400SM. My boss keeps touting KTMs as the best bikes around, but I dont know that much about the specific models. Both Kawasaki and Yamaha make dual sports in the 125-225cc range, but they felt really really light to me when I went and sat on them, so I havent looked into them very much. My understanding is that you can get dual sport conversion kits for most dirt bikes, which really opens up whats available.

Thanks for the response to my post, its nice to know that there is a real person on the other end! Keep up the awesome work!

I've heard some pretty good things about KTM, and I really like the look of their Super Duke street bike! haha, I'll have to research the DRZ400 as well as a few other dual sports soon. Oh yeah, if you are viewing this in Internet explorer i'm sorry, the site looks like crap. I just found out yesterday how bad it looks in IE, I always use firefox so I could never tell. Regardless, expect some updates to the look of the site soon!

It's very easy to say that only 250cc and 500cc are beginner bikes. But the fact of the matter is, a 500cc bike today is far more powerful than a 600cc of 20 years ago. And every bike can be dangerous. They can all go fast enough to cause a fatal crash and they all have ample acceleration to be unforgiving. A lot of the clutch work mentioned can be scary unless you've driven a standard car before. I started riding on a 97 YZF 600R. I had dropped it @ 65mph+. I would have done the same with a 250 cc bike. The road condition doomed me, not the CC rating. Currently I ride an 02 Busa. And it's probably EASIER to ride than the YZF. It's stable and the torque gives very nice low end acceleration. And while it could be very easy, controling a powerful bike is merely being smart enough to know your limits, and control your throttle hand.

Well I have to admit I went from 125cc all the way to a Suzuki SV650 and I will be honest it was a wierd Change but its all about being careful and respecting the machine your on. Im still on my SV650 but now thinking about changing to a Yamaha R6

I have been running it over and over in my head. Do I want to start out on 500 and upgrade later or start out on a 600 and be with it for the next years.

Things stand out in my head, pros, cons, advantages, risks, warrants and disadvantages. I have something that a lot of people don't. Time. A lot of it. Before I go into that I want to rant about the area and the advantage I have.

I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I also happen to live in a area where in one direction you have country roads, another you have main roads and another highway, highway access roads and suburb streets. Each has its own traffic, speed and level of difficulty.

This is where I have my advantage and time comes into play. Being in a area like this makes for good learning in each "tier" of speed. Suburb streets offer for good learn at your pace streets without much traffic, fairly well kept roads and the feeling that when your ready to step it up your not far from another "tier". This is where I will most likely start my venture into biking before hitting the highway for a morning commute to work.

Country roads around here are not the most curvy but they do have their advantage and here is where risk comes into play. Country roads are not always the best kept roads and here is where you find of parallel cracks and sand. This makes for the "caution of riding" learning...

I would agree that most people shouldn't start out on a 600CC bike. But when you have the resources (MSF, different types of roads, ect ect) and most important research what is really stopping you? I can understand saying no to someone who is ready to roll off the dealership and hit the highway, but when you're ready to put the time and effort into learning before doing and learning while doing... wouldn't that put you at a advantage over starting on a 600 rather then not?

What i'm trying to say is, if you are fully committed to learning before doing and taking your time, shouldn't that be enough to justify going 600 over 250/500?

You also have to realize that on a budget buying two new bikes in one year can happen but would be very difficult. Even two in two years is easier said then done.

Although I have not done all my research I must say that when combined with information from the MSF website, guide sites like this and forums, should that not be enough to start slow on the 600?

It is definitely possible to learn on a 600cc machine, but I feel that most people jump to a 600cc just because it looks cool. And I think if you have that attitude, than you most likely won't have the self control needed to keep yourself from binning the motorcycle in the first year. Hell, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look cool, that was probably a good 50% of the reason why I started riding! It's just badass! But it is way too easy to get over your head on a 600cc motorcycle in my opinion, and way too easy to get overconfident.

It is definitely possible to learn on a 600cc, there are lots of people that have done it. From my own experience I learned on a 500cc, and I found that to be MORE than enough of a challenge! Just a slight twist on the throttle would have you hitting 60mph in seconds. 500cc bikes are also lighter and easier to control while going at slow speeds, even with that being the case I must have dropped my first bike 3-5 times at low speeds. Thankfully it was a naked bike so I didn't have to worry about cracked fairings or anything like that.

When it comes to cost, you can pick up a ninja 500 one year, and sell it for maybe a few hundred less the next year, frankly they have excellent resale value. Hell with my first bike, a suzuki GS500, I bought it for $1700 and sold it less than a year later for $2500!!!! Thats a profit of 800 dollars, which more than paid for all the gear I bought for the bike. The key is finding deals and being patient.

I mean I guess you can do whatever you feel comfortable doing, but I know you will be more than satisfied with a 500cc bike, and it will provide tons of challenges for you. If you are dead set on getting something bigger than at least steer your thinking towards an SV650, the Vtwin engine it has makes it relatively newbie friendly. Keep in mind a 650cc vtwin is still going to have gobs more power than a 500cc ninja, so even though I do recommend it on this site, I really only try and steer people towards it if they definitely won't get something less than 600cc's.

One more quick thing. Most riders that I have seen that start on a smaller motorcycle are BETTER, and FASTER in the twisties than riders that start on 600cc plus motorcycles. This is because they can actually concentrate on proper riding technique instead of focusing so much on controlling a bike that is above their skill level.

Editor and Owner of BBM

I'm not deadset on any bike really. I have considered a ex500 more then any other bike. I like the look, the ride-ability and the option to do twisties is just another plus. After all this bike is to get me from point a to b, something to do on the weekends and to explore. I like the idea of joining a club, meet new people, learn more about bikes. This is quickly becoming a daily hobby and I like it!

This post was meant for one thing. To clearify to me any doubts that I had and that is it. I'm not about to run out and buy a bike. I still have a list of things todo before I even decide to buy a bike (That is a bit of lie, i will be getting one..)

I'm not looking at the bike thinking, I can go faster. I view it as, will this fit me better. I am a bit heavy set coming in at 230 fully clothed so these are the things I have to consider.

I love the idea that starting small is bigger in the future. That's great and that has been my thinking ever since I started the idea about getting a bike.

I have heard alot of the things you are saying about resale. I like the idea consider my yearly income vs the cost of the bike. Which fairs pretty well if I might add. I would much rather sell it to someone on the street then a dealer. You get to make new friends and maybe help someone a "tier" below me.

Anyways before I rant all night. The bottom line is, i am exploring my options. If I am deadset on anything it would be the kawasaki ninja 500 over any bike at this point. I do like the void that you can fill with custom parts.

Thank you shaykai.


PS. Check your email :D

I have done alot of thinking. ALOT!

I have said, well it might be okay to start on 600CC bike if I do this and do that. I have also said that I am not going to be like the other joe's out there and take my time and not do this and not do that. But the truth is. You do not gain skill by reading a book, forum post or guide. You gain experience by doing and that is the only way. I am not saying that reading guides and forums is a bad thing, its great and one of the best things when used in conjunction with the MSF course. I will talk about that later.

Going out and buying a new 600CC bike would be the biggest mistake and I will tell you why. Many people fear the bike, that is the first mistake. It is the road and the people on it that you should fear. You should have respect for the bike but to a point, not fear. When you have fear, your rate of processing and leveling of thinking goes down. If you trust and respect you bike, you put your focus on the road and that is where it should be.

Many riders think about this when they buy their first bike. More power = acceleration.. but more power also = a lot more skill needed. Take a sharp corner on a 500CC bike, make a mistake on a turn and you should be able to push through it. Take a sharp corner on a 600CC bike, you "could" make the mistake of ending up on the other side of that reflective yellow line.

A lot of people, including myself, say "I'm going to get a 600CC bike. I'm going to be very mature, take it slow and learn my bike." But what we newbies ofter forget is that maturity doesn't start when you put a leg over on your bike, it starts before you buy it.

I think that a lot of newbies think that older riders are trying to put them down. They don't give them the answers they want so they just don't listen. There is a reason experienced riders say "It's not the best idea to start out on a 600CC bike". Listen to them is the only thing I will say. The people that do tell you to start on a 600CC are probably new riders themselves.

You will lay down your bike and whether you are going 20 or 60 you need to be prepared. But with a little skill you have a better chance of coming out of it.

About reading guides, forums, books and taking the MSF.

The best thing and most mentioned thing I have seen is "read as much as you can, then take the MSF course, you will soak up a lot more information and have a clear head. You are also more likely to ask questions when you have them. There are a lot of things to ask, and reading will put those in your head."

I read a guide the other night and it hit so close to home. Read it again and again. It was a great guide and at the end he mentioned a book called, The Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycles, 3rd edition. I ran out and bought it right away. Well I ordered it online so its not really running as I was sitting at my computer already!

Don't be that squid in the newspaper. Be prepared for the worse and expect the unexpected.


("Squid": The person you see riding in a wife beater, shorts and flip flops. A person who rides for looks. This said person is often times not experienced and doesn't feel like learning will benefit him or her in anyway)

I'm really glad you are thinking a lot about this! I think one of the main problems with the world today (not just the world of motorcycles) is that people don't think things through enough, or they think a little, and then they stop thinking. I can tell you have really thought about this though :)

This is a little off topic, but even though I do have a 600cc bike, probably sometime in the next year or so I plan on buying a 250cc bike! Kind of backwards huh? I mean I started on a 500cc and then moved up to a 600, so why go to the 250?

Because they are a blast to ride!

I actually plan on buying a 250cc bike and having it be a track bike, not only will the parts be cheaper to fix, but that way I can really take the bike to the limits.


Quick sideramp:

It's funny that you mention squids in the wifebeaters, shorts, flip flops etc... It seems like tons of people don't wear gear and only ride moto's for looks. When I see someone dressed out in full leathers I think, "Man, that guys a pro" or at the very least "Man, that guy is serious about riding".

On the other hand when I see some squid in shorts and flip flops I just cringe and hope they don't go down. Also in my opinion the people that ride like that are doing it 100% for image, and not for the actual joy of riding. Sure image is cool, but with full gear you LOOK like more of a badass professional than a guy not wearing any gear.

There is this guy I know that rides an r1, I believe he started on an r1 too actually. The funny thing is I was talking to him about riding and asked if he wanted to ride in the hills some weekend and he was like, "Nah, I don't like turning, I prefer cruising in a straight line."

I was freaking FLOORED! Leaning into a turn is the best part about riding a motorcycle! Because he started on a bike way too powerful, even though he has been riding for a few years, I bet a 250cc rider that has been riding for 6 months could beat him in the twisties.

Editor and Owner of BBM

I can't agree more. I dream and dream about doing twisties. That is another reason on my list of pros and cons. The only bad thing is i'm sure they are not many here in Texas considering it's mostly flat! But I don't know the area yet.

I also agree that gear is way more pro over squid wear. I would much rather spend a grand on gear then 10 grand on medical bills.

Btw shaykai, hows the new place?

The 10 grand on medical bills doesn't bother me nearly as much as the pain that I would suffer from road rash. Hell I hate it when I get a bad sunburn, I bet road rash feels a billion times worse for weeks longer!

The new place is great actually :) I just strapped my garage door opener to my motorcycle with some zipties the other day. Hehe, I get the garage and my girlfriend and our roommate have to find parking elsewhere in the complex *GRIN* :)


Editor and Owner of BBM

I've been hit 3 times by cars on my bicycle, I know that no matter how confident I am in my skills or ability, the other idiots on the road are unpredictable. Especially since one of those people looked me right in the eye before hitting me. I want to be able to look to the right and left and see nothing but the road and scenery unobstructed. I can't say there won't be a day that I find a road I'm comfortable with and very briefly see how fast my bike can go.. I can pretty much promise that will happen.. I know what it's like to crash in a car, on a bike and I know that you multiply those by a hundred to equal a motorcycle crash. I have no problem with baby steps. I plan on taking a class rather than learning on my own. I'd rather learn the right way and have a better experience in the long run. Plus part of the goal is to save money on gas.. it's over 4$ here in michigan now, buying / trading in for a second bike isn't conducive of saving. Just my take. A sports bike isn't my style. I plan on wearing full body protection. And no one else will ride with me without it as well.

What do you think about starting on a 400-450 cc bike? I'm guessing that it is not as powerful and dangerous as a 600 but good enough for someone who wants to have that extra speed option incase they want to go a little faster. That's my reasoning but I could be wrong.

If a rider feels inclined to ride a motorcycle in order to "look cool", then my friend that person is a squid; and they will dump their bike regardless of how big the engine is. An irresponsible rider can kill themselves on a moped, it's just simply all about respect. My first bike was a cbr 600, and while it certainly provided me with all the power I could possibly need, any hairy situations I found myself in were not created by riding a 600 and could not have been remedied by riding anything smaller (in fact most of them were caused by florida motorists). I truly believe that a new rider will be alright if they devote some time researching all possible first rides and make a decision based solely on what they feel comfortable with and not what their friends ride or want them to ride. Obviously going further than the legally required bare minimum when it comes to motorcycle safety courses and advanced riding courses helps immensely. Along with that, I also believe that a rider (new or not) will undoubtedly inflict repeated abuse to themselves and their rides if their motives for riding fall into a vanity related or materialistic category. Sure, I think its great that attractive women love motorcycles and the men that ride them, and most all riders enjoy the image exhibited by being a motorcycle rider; but those are strictly perc's of the lifestlye (and only small ones at that). I would discourage your message of condemning 600cc's or larger as being unacceptable beginning bikes; instead I would use all my resources to try and fully educate riders or prospective riders in order to make appropriate decisions for a first bike. It's important to take in all aspects of a riders situation when making the decision on a first bike; such as where you live, what the terrain/roads are like, how dense the population may be, there are much more important factors than just engine size when determining a suitable first bike. Respect the ride, fellow motorists, and constantly prepare for the worst possible scenario; just leave the rest up to the motorcycle gods.

Hello to all,
I am an about to be 24 year old guy who is going to be getting a bike very soon. I have been on a bike before but just my dads when I was a little tike. That being said I have never driven any type of motorcycle at all. I will be taking the course first, though I am torn of which size bike to get. I personally would like to start off on a small sport bike so I can learn the proper techs. Though all of my buddies that ride say that I will get bored in a month with say a 250 and that I will want more acceleration etc.... Personally I don't care to go 0-60 in 3 sec. I just want a good city commuter. I also have a wife that will be riding on the back with me sometimes. We won't be doing any traveling on the bike. Lets face it, traveling on a bike is best done on a cruiser and although most are badass looking/sounding, thats just not my style. Anyway I like how the new Ninja 08 and 09 250r's look. But yet again, my buddies say its not too safe to have two people on a 250. I am willing to go bigger, but on a budget (with this damn ol economy), I would like to start out small. I learned how to drive a stick in a 5.0 mustang, so I know how too much power can be a bad way to learn.....Just wanted some thoughts on this by those who know what they are talking about.

i say fuck anything less than a 600 i started on a 03 r6 and loved it! wouldn't of started with a smaller bike! A 600cc is the perfect beginner bike as long as you have rode a dirt bike or some other bike before in your life as long as you take it easy for the first month your good!! Recommend a 600cc for anyone starting on a sport bike that has some back ground on a bike!!

The only thing an r6 is going to do for a beginner is get them into trouble, 90% of the people out there can't even ride a 600cc sport bike to its limit. The only reason to get a bigger bike is if you've ridden it as hard as it can go, and you're looking for more. For you straight line guys, go build yourself a drag bike, don't be a poser on an r1 talking about how fast you went when a pro on a 250 could smoke you on a course.

I agree with you 100%! Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin

Editor and Owner of BBM

This is the most idiotic comment I've ever read (not really, but close). Sounds like another poser who doesn't want newbies on the same bike he rides. ANYONE can start on a 600. If you can't, you shouldn't even be riding a motorcycle. Load the bike on a truck and go out to an empty parking lot and LEARN TO RIDE the damn thing first before you hit the public streets. Christ, it's not that hard. Simulate traffic conditions, hard stopping, turning, etc... Spend however much time (days, weeks, etc..) you need doing thing before you go out into traffic. Guess what champ, if you are exploring the limits of a 600/1000cc on public roads, you're an idiot. Properly exploiting those bikes means going to the track. A minority of people who buy a bike for the street go to the track. What a 600/1000 gives a rider is more power, more TORQUE. That means less goofing around with shifting. This is a blessing in areas with high traffic. I took my 250 to a larger city and what a PITA it was. It took the fun out of riding having to shift so often. I would recommend a 250 for recreational riding in smaller areas, or back road riding. If I was commuting or planning on doing lots of riding in traffic in larger population areas, I would definitely suggest getting some type of a 600+.

It sounds like you've been riding for a while (and if I am reading your comment correctly you started on a 250cc bike as well). I think its tough for people that have been riding for a long time to remember what it was like when you first got on the bike. For me riding a 600 is super easy and its hard to imagine it being difficult at all, but whenever I start to think that way I have to remember my first bike (a gs500) and all the mistakes I made on it! my gs500 was super lightweight compared to my bike now, and even though it wasn't that heavy I still managed to drop in 3 times at a standstill within a 6 month period. Not only that, but it was pretty difficult for me to learn to operate the clutch/throttle effectively and not rev the engine way too much. Keep in mind at the time I always drove cars with manual transmissions so shifting so you would think that would give me an advantage, but since motorcycles have the clutch/brakes/shifter completely switched (hands to feet, feet to hands etc..) it was like learning to shift all over again. Yes, anyone CAN start on a 600cc, but in most cases I definitely wouldn't recommend it. Your statement of 'you shouldn't even be riding a motorcycle' if you can't ride a 600 is ridiculous and completely uninformed. It reminds me of a comment that a guy made to me once asking why I wore so much gear (leather jacket, moto pants, gloves, helmet etc...). I told him if I crashed I wanted to stack the odds in my favor and keep as much skin as possible. He scoffed at that and said I shouldn't even be riding a motorcycle if I was afraid I would crash. Doesn't that sound completely idiotic to you? I can't control every factor when riding a motorcycle, especially other drivers that might do something stupid and cause me to crash. To think you could avoid every possible scenario while riding would mean you would have to have eyes in the back of your head, the fastest reaction time in all humanity, and psychic ability to see what is going to happen a few seconds/minutes before it did. I don't know about you but I don't have any of those qualities. I digress, what I'm saying is you need to think back to when you were a new rider and how challenging it was before you start recommending 600's to people that shouldn't be riding them. I'm not saying that all people will instantly crash and die if they start on a 600, but I think thats just one more thing stacked against them, and in this game you want to stack as much stuff in your favor as possible. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin

Editor and Owner of BBM

First of all, I like the site. I guess ill just start.. I used to ride dirtbikes on tracks and whatnot and all around pastures and woods (Live in Texas), and Id say about two years of riding/racing on tracks and jumps I had a horrible crash. I shattered my leg and wore a steel cage with 14 rods (28 holes) going through my leg for about a year, then all the rehab. Im totally fine now which is about 2 years after I got the cage off and can run a mile in 6 minutes.. I have wanted a big motorcycle my whole life and constantly think about it, but am flat terrified of getting paralyzed, i understand that accidents will eventually happen but not if I have anything to do with it. Im definately one to wear gear, and a smart thinker truly, (I only wrecked on the dirtbike cuz the jump was too dry when I went up), dont plan on lifting it up, just really love to ride and no plans for showboating. I really want to buy one, but im just super scared because I dont want to put my family through any crap again and not to mention my mom about dirties her pants when I even bring the thought up. I want to eventually get a gsxr 600, but want to begin on a sv650 in my perfect scenario, but also keep the smaller bikes in mind for learning purposes. I guess I really love the way the bigger bikes ride as I have taken my friends 600 around town twice, and have also rode a 250 the same way. I dont know Im really just pissed off because my greatest passion probably is just cruisin on the road, but I havent ever decided to buy one for all the mentioned reasons. Anyways If you have any advice that would be nice, I think we both think on the same wavelengths so i prefer to take advice from non-retard websites if you get my drift. Thanks

Buy yourself an older, used Nighthawk 250 and learn to ride comfortably. Then move up to whatever you want. But first, make sure that person in your life (whoever it is that lays judgement upon you and your purchases) understands that it is temporary. I see lots of Nighthawks, Rebels, Ninjas, and GZs going for less than $1500 on Craigslist.

Yea I was really thinking about doing that (the 250) and learning to ride comfortably.... I guess I really like the way the 600 look as well, and not for showboating, for myself. To wake up and see that bad boy in the garage you know, but I understand if it kills me then its not going to be any enjoyment. I like the new 08 ninjas, they look wayyyyy better.

I used to ride dirt bikes 25 years ago.. Just got back into riding this past month and decided to go with the 650 for a couple of reasons.. I had a lesson on a Rebel 250 and realized it was way too small for my body size so I knew I needed something a little larger overall without being too heavy for me.. And also after riding the 250 I realized I hadn't forgotten as much as I thought I had.. A lot of it came back to me pretty quickly once I was on the bike.. The change from having my feet under me to having my feet out in front of me on the cruiser was probably the biggest adjustment I had to make..


I just want to make it out of this life alive...

I just want to make it out of this life alive...

When I first saw the title of this website, I figured it would be a sales pitch for bikes larger than 600cc. I teach MSF classes and for an off-road program and I'm constantly disappointed in what passes for "common sense" among new riders. Mostly, that's because of lousy advice they get from "experienced riders" who have miraculously survived, so far, their own poor choices.

A big bike, for me, is my 650cc V-Strom. My daily commuter bike is a 250cc Super Sherpa. The 250 gets me to work and back, either by the freeway or on surface streets. It also gets about 90mpg, if I don't thrash it. I've been riding since 1963 and I started on a 250cc Harley. I'm unconvinced that the majority of riders on 600cc and up bikes have any business on an automatic transmission scooter. They discover their skills are insufficient when they become statistics.

Your website does a terrific service and I hope you keep at it.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

Ok, so I didn't buy my bike to be cool or impress the ladies. I'm pushing forty and on top of that an avid rock climber, so I'm generally not one to take unnecessary risks...

That said, I'm old school and didn't do a lot of research online before buying a bike. One of my friends who's ridden a lot told me that by state law you couldn't go on the Interstate here in Missouri with anything less than a 400cc. Well, I didn't want something that would just barely do 60mph, so I threw in some margin and figured a 600 would be powerful enough for highway use and be able to keep up with traffic.

(Before going any further, this isn't a horror story, I'm just throwing my two cents as a beginner into the discussion... I'm not sitting in a wheelchair typing with a straw in my mouth or anything like that...)

I sat on a bunch of bikes and just did not feel comfortable on the upright touring or cruiser models. I've been bicycling seriously for about 20 years and have about 100,000+ miles on racing bicycles, and I'm used to being tucked down tight with weight off my rear. When I got on the Nighthawks and Harleys, I felt like I was in danger of toppling over backwards. The first bike that fit me great was a GSX-R 750.

After some shopping around I got a good deal on a GSX-R 600. Again, great fit. When I got on the handle bars, had someone hold the bike and put my feet up, it felt like the bike had been custom molded for my body.

After getting it in my garage I went online to look for an owner manual, to find out how to do my routine checks. At that point I started looking at the specs and realized that this engine generated more horsepower than my car and redlined at 14,500 rpm. A little more research brought me to websites like this one. I realized that I was the equivalent of a beginning climber getting ready to spend six days on the perfectly vertical world of a 3000ft big wall - without ever having been more than 20ft off the ground before.

I had to revise my training plan accordingly. I bought a full face helmet, armored jacket, hard knuckle gloves, the whole nine yards. Even then, I'm only riding the quarter mile to the nearest parking lot, riding around in first gear, and then riding back. I'm also riding with the expectation that I will go down, and will skin up the bike. I take the MSF course later this month. Until then, no second gear for me.

That said, the bike feels exquisite. It is balanced so well that I can coast along at 3mph with my feet on the pegs. I've intentionally over-throttled it a few times to get a feel for the kick. Even when I rode out the first time, turning was easy - it felt like the bike knew in advance what needed to be done and was just waiting for the clueless beginner to actually give the command.

So how can I explain it best to a fellow beginner? Go out and find "In the beginning was the command line", an essay by Neal Stephenson. It's easy to find on the web (and free). It's about computer operating systems, but it's also about electric drills. In that context: a 600cc sportbike is to motorcycles what a Milwaukee Hole Hawg is to drills. It will do exactly what you tell it to, without trying to protect you from yourself. If a Hole Hawg catches while in use, it will not automatically cut off or stall from lack of power. It will just turn your whole body or break something in your arms if you don't let go fast enough. I speak from experience on that one.

Now think of how simple an electric drill is and how complicated a motorcycle is. It's easy to say "I just won't give it too much throttle". Sorry, fellow newbie, but you're in a full face helmet, and head to toe in fairly hot clothing. You're sweating and nervous and it's impossible to find neutral. Are you absolutely sure that you won't twist that throttle the wrong way if you start losing your balance? Because your sportbike is a stallion that is trotting along just waiting patiently for you to give it that "go" command. Your sportbike is waiting for that moment when it can jump 3,000 rpm in less than a second and put all that torque straight into the ground.

I'm addicted to the bike now. But it's a heavy price. I only take it out at 5:45am when there's zero traffic, and then only to the parking lot. It will probably be 6 months before I even start riding on the road. If I had purchased something a little less lethal, I would probably be tooling around town within a few weeks.

Bottom line - listen to the experienced guys on here. I'm doing it the hard way, and would definitely not have gone this route if I had done better research first...

I'll agree with anonymous' comment.

I'm a new rider. Didn't start out on anything but my '02 CBR f4i 600cc. No prior experience to riding a motorcycle. Just decided to get one this year.

I'm sorry but I think you're pointing a lot of people in the wrong direction. I look at it as an even more expensive direction too! You want people to start on a 250 pay money for that, realize what they have isn't enough and then look on to buy another bike? Seriously with how the economy is that's just ill stated.

Next how hard is it to read? Even if you don't go to motorcycle safety class the internet has so much material on ride a bike safely. It's not that hard to go on a motorcycle, if you've ever road a bicycle you can understand the basics of balance believe it or not that's the easiest part.

Think about the clutch in a manual car and how that works. Take that knowledge and just test it on your bike. When I first got my bike moving i was sitting on it and waddle walking down the street until i got comfortable enough to give her some throttle.

The hard parts come in on the turning which is easy with practice. Biggest piece of advice there is brake before turning, downshift if needed, keep your head up and look where your turning, execute the turn and roll the throttle on.

So I don't agree with the assumption that a 600 is "Too Much!", in reality I'd be more poised to state that a 600 is all you'll ever need, unless you have some sick addiction to speed.

600cc's aren't 1000cc's or 1400's, I'll never suggest a 1000 as a starter bike. I will suggest a used 600cc, they're prouder motorcycles with happy owners. The owners are happy because they set out to ride a motorcycle and now they do and are respected for what they own.

Little story from personal experience I had the displeasure of riding a 250 the other day for 10 mins. I played with it and tested the limits of the bike (like everyone should do with their bike when they're comfortable) and in real world applications it's actually scarier. I wouldn't dream of riding that thing on the free way and good luck making quick acceleration.

My suggestion to reading this is, if you're seriously swayed to a 250 because you're scared you need not be on a motorcycle. If you're scared to ride a motorcycle then I suggest motorcycle safety courses where they teach you to ride. I even heard they use 250's. Take a course learn how to ride on a motorcycle supplied by the course then go test drive bikes with your learned skills. Don't just buy a 250 because someone wants you to be afraid of the big bad 600.

oh please. tell me how awesome you are when you've hit some real twisties or the track. the main reason for starting on a 250cc is not only the disparate power delivery of a 600cc I4, but the weight, and you can actually learn cornering skills quicker on a smaller bike. I love seeing this 600cc I4 and bigger litre bikes on the track just corner park it taking a corner. Heck, i get a chuckle getting passed on the front straight by these bigger bike riders only to pass them back on the same straight because they don't know how to carry entry speed into a corner and brake like a mofo a bazillion miles away from the corner. I'd prefer to see a bunch of 250 riders on the roads nowadays instead of all these noobs on their super sport replicas who bin it on their first couple of rides on the twisties or the track. Everyone thinks just because they can handle a quick jaunt on the highway or to their local *$ that they're totally skilled on their 600+cc bike. Basically, get what you want. But don't be surprised that someone on a 250cc bike will have developed skills faster than a noob who started on their 600cc I4. And if you look at your local CL, something like an ninja 250, you can sell for what you paid for it, so you are most certainly not losing money. Heck, i'd even go as far as saying don't start out riding a street bike, but a dirt bike. Learn how to throw a bike around and have it move around underneath you so know what that feels like and don't have yourself a hissy fit when it happens on the street.

--- AFM #998 If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now...

Nice debating style Blitz, haven't seen your type in a long time. Nice touches giving credit to the site owner on the obvious non arguable tips yet give the little jabs in between to harvest some semblance of approval to your choices, or were you trying to start a pissing contest?
Any learner that comes across this site is obviously looking for some direction on where to start and what tools to get their riding career going. Likely most will be smart and take the MSF due to simple reasoning of reading and doing are worlds apart. Reading leaves you safely in your chair or couch and practicing motions that you are likely unfamiliar with. Get on the machine and you lose the safety net. Then enter inexperience, emotion, adrenaline and have your fight or flight instincts kick in. Usually recipes for disasters. Thankfully for those around you , you were still able to take your time and do the duck walk. Not all are as....cool headed as you. Or graced with an an apparent self proclaimed natural talent.  I can read all day long about becoming many things, the work of doing presents a whole different approach. Like GI Joe says .... "Knowing is half the battle".
Now lets take your argument about expenses. A 250 ninja depending on area and demand goes for what $4,000 on average? Now lets bump that up to your 600's  which is usually and very easily twice the price. I am talking new prices, not used.....used will present a whole new can of worms full of problems for a beginner. Now 4 grand  to learn on a bike you will likely recoup the costs on , and be able to build up the confidence on a machine that even though will not out run traffic will get you down the road and back in a controllable manner. Lay it down ... your out what 4 grand tops. Now the 600+'s.... hmm 8 grand, rarely if ever recoup the costs. Get overconfident because you read how to control the bike in certain situations but your brain can't make sense of it all in the tiny fractions of a second that you will need. Not only are you risking twice the price in the same situation but you also cost yourself 2X's the money to scare yourself out of riding. Provided you survived.
Oh and let us not forget that you are likely under the assumption that everyone will chase after your very own dream of riding a sport bike. Cruisers require a different skill set to ride successfully. As will standards. Torque that can kick you off the seat even with a 500 .... yea a reality no matter what the bike is cruiser, sport or otherwise.  Heading towards a fence from a right hand death grip or having the horizon disappear because you didn't realize that your buddy had over dramatized the twisting motion on the throttle is a hard and very dangerous way to learn.
MSF will help you learn the VERY BASICS of riding and get you comfortable on being on a motorcycle. The learning does not stop there. It is also an inexpensive way to know whether riding is for you before you take the 4 or 8 and some times much larger dollar amount leap. With all that added up, why would you think instructors and the designers of the course prefer to use 250's? Because they have penis envy and they don't want some noob riding a bigger horse then them?
Honestly in no way does the site owner tell you "You HAVE to start on a 250 or your gonna die", his ideas are merely to give folks that extra nudge in where to start and how. What to look out for for their FIRST bike, which any one who has ridden for any amount of time very well knows the odds are very high to near certain it will not be your last bike should you continue on your journey.
So breath, relax, enjoy your ride as such that it is, and try to help promote responsible riding and learning. There are enough statistic victims out there- let's not try to produce more.

****Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but, rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy Shit....What a ride!!!"****

If you have ridden a dirt bike, then your not so much a beginner. I've been on a dirt bike once and flew off of it. I'm a beginner. I believe these guys and I should respect the power the bike wields. I"m def. gonna go with a 250 or a 500.

Thanks guys,


...Bother to get back on it and attempt to not dump the clutch?

No seriously, why? Feel free to get whatever bike you want. Feel free to take it to its limit on public roads (like you should do once you've been riding for at least 15 minutes, or have watched at least two YouTube vids showing how to pop wheelies), carve up some twisties (and that means pin it on the straights, then brake to 20mph for the corners), and pull madd endos and burnouts. Blah blah blah. I don't care. Not my funeral.

On the other hand, there's plenty of beginners (that's not you, because you're comfortable taking a CBR F4i to its limit) here who want advice geared towards safety, proper learning of skills, maximizing of fun, and longevity of life. If you're a big man and can handle your sportbike, that's fine, but guess what, bazooka joe? 99% of riders either can't or have the good sense not to. And those riders-to-be are the visitors to BestBeginnerMotorcycles.com. We do everything in our power to make this site welcoming to the most timid of new riders, and try to leave all the machismo at the door. Don't come in here, piss on everybody's dinner, contradict the fundamental message of the site, and then flame anonymous visitors. No way to guarantee a guy won't come back like having a registered user mock him.

And listen dude: you're not the only sportbike fan out there. I ride a gixxer. Megaspaz rocks an SV650SF and Duc 848. We both love rippin' it up on the track. Thing is, we aren't so worried about other people's impressions of our testicular size that we have to go talking big on internet forums. "...had the displeasure of riding a 250 the other day..."? Seriously? Read just about any review for the new Ninja 250R and you'll find the consensus to be that if you DON'T have fun, you have no soul, and/or don't know how to ride. They're FUN dude, so much so that my city bike is still my 250. If you can't even BRIEFLY appreciate a bike like that when you don't have to deal with the logistical implications of owning it (of which there are definitely some negative ones), you're in trouble mate.

Also, for the record, quit makin' shit up. The ride height on any late-model literbike is in the vicinity of 31". For those of us who aren't good at math, that's exactly half of 5'2". So you're telling me that a 5'2" girl can learn to ride on a bike whose seat is halfway up her body? Keep in mind that your crotch is not the halfway point. No way man. She couldn't even tip-toe that beast, let alone flat-foot it. In the freak chance that you're not making this up, quit using freak chance occurrences as fact to back up your arguments. It's just goofy.

Dude, you sound like the idiot here. That kind of thinking is why there are fatal bike accidents! A 600 IS the right starter bike if you've got some sense. I've got an 09 R6(orange/black,it's HEAT)it's my first motorcycle and I was rollin' on it like I was riding a bicycle after only about 2 minutes;real talk!! I was on the freeway 10 min. after that! My only riding back ground prior to that was a mini bike when I was about 11 years old(44 now)and about twenty minutes on an X18 super pocket bike, which is compareable to my mini bike I had as a kid. THAT'S IT!!! I've had NO problems handling the power. Now I have had an accident recently,but it wasn't my fault. Some idiot crossed over 3 traffic lanes and came into my path of travel and hit me, causing me(15 yards)and my bike(30 yards)to go sliding across the asphalt. The bike was totaled(it was insured so I'll be getting another brand new one)and I got some pretty good road rash to my left leg. I was only doing about 35 mph and as soon as I stopped sliding,I was able to get up and literally"walk away"(to my bike). Because of how I was operating my bike I wasn't to badly hurt despite coming into contact with a complete IDIOT on the road! Now if I had your mentallity and was riding"hard" as you put it,say doing 65,70 or more,where would I be? I'll tell you where. In ICU with a breathing tube down my throat or worse. Don't be hatin' on us riders who enjoy the pure fun of just riding by calling us "posers"just because we have respect for the machine and are aware of the idiots out there. The only reason to operate a bike in the way you talk is if you're in a competitive venue not everyday riding on the public streets because there are idiots out there and your whole life can change before you could blink an eye! In that sense YOU are the poser homeboy!! Your out there on public streets"posing"like you are a professional racer or somethin'. If that how you roll then get your"swerve"on at the track, not the streets and don't encourage new riders to ride above their abilities by tossin' around cheap shots that apply more to you!!


"I've got an 09 R6(orange/black,it's HEAT)it's my first motorcycle and I was rollin' on it like I was riding a bicycle after only about 2 minutes;real talk!! I was on the freeway 10 min. after that! . . . I've had NO problems handling the power. Now I have had an accident recently,but it wasn't my fault."

Of course it wasn't, the earth tilted and you fell off, and now you're desperate for someone to blame. You really ought to spend time on a track on a 250, dude. You'd learn how to ride well enough to stay on it as the earth spins. And it's going to keep spinning.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

Well if they "have some background on a bike" then we are not talking "beginner" are we?

I understand why you want a 600+cc when you are older than 16. I want a 250 ninja but my dad is like you will shove your head out your asshole if you wreck. I don't really care about cruisers. I race a KTM 125sx hell that is a fast bike. I had a bad wreck a
few weeks back and was put in the er overnight. I drove a fast 600 before but that is not as fast as my 125. I wish ktm made a 250. Can you set up straight on a ninja? Or any other street bike? I can get it if I don't lay down on the bike.

The Honda 599, Yamaha FZ6, Suzuki SV, and the Kawasaki Versys fit in the realm of upright riding position. Research them and I think that you will find one to your liking. The older model bikes like the Suzuki GS series are just your basic bikes with zero frills . I think yamaha had the XS series 400cc up to 1100. Any of these may fit the bill without major investment and will get you some time on the street as well as establish more effectively what you want out of a streeter. Good luck Jon D.

Honda vfr's have a more sit up feel. Or you can stay with that moto feel and get like an xr600.

At any rate I can guarantee a 600 is faster than the 125.

I think everything is reletive to your own personal cercumstances. If your a reall tall or big person, you are probably going to do well on a larger more powerful bike even as a beginner. But if your less experienced and shorter (smaller)rider, then you may be better off starting out with a smaller used bke. This way you will be able to enjoy the riding rather than worrying about the bike. I ran right out and bought a new Harley sportser custom 1200. It really was too much bike for me. I had no experience and was so nervous and never got to feel fully in control of the bike. Even tough it is considered a small bike, it felt big to me. I ended up selling it, and haven't riden since. I wish I had started on something smaller and lighter (even if not as cool) then I would have gotten some good experience and miles then have many years to upgrade to another bike.

I know chicks that are 5'2'' and their first bike was a 1000cc. I don't condone the first bike being 1000's but height and weight have nothing to do with it. I would NEVER suggest a 1200 especially a Harley. Harley's are ridiculously torquey bikes. That's their thing, and with a 1200 you can have a hard time staying on the seat.

If you would have bought yourself a 600 you'd still be riding. 

I took the MSF and my instructor gave an undoubted approval when I asked about the concept of an sv650 as a beginner bike (since over and over it is mentioned as one). I've read a ton about gs500,ex250/500/650,sv650 and still can't figure out...Are the sv650s and higher cc Ninjas recommended as a second bike, or is the beginner bike referring to BeginneR?
And if the latter, what's your opinion on this since you are of the frame of mind that a 650 is way too much for a beginner regardless of the bike?

(I'm 5'6/130 and a girl, so I need a light bike...and don't have to deal with the boy fronting issues of how cool or powerful my bike looks...but I do want a bike that has excellent handling, response, and is forgiving to my mistakes)

I honestly only recommend the SV650 as a last resort bike to the people that are dead set on getting a 600cc+ motorcycle no matter what. The SV650's engine (a v-twin) is much more forgiving than your standard Inline-Four engine on a 600cc superbike. That being said, it is still a really powerful bike, and I think if you don't have much experience on a motorcycle then you shouldn't get it. The 500cc ninja is a great bike with a bulletproof engine, plus I believe the seat height is lower than the sv650 which might make a difference for you only being 5'6". They can definitely keep up on the freeway too, in fact I followed some girl on a ninja500 on my way to work and she was hitting mid 80's easy.

I personally started off on a GS500 and it was a great bike for me, but I think if I had to do it all over again I would get a ninja500 instead, or even a ninja250. Don't get me wrong, the GS is a great bike, and great looking, but it was really hard to start in the cold weather, plus I think the Ninja engines are better.

What type of riding do you plan on doing? If you just plan on putting around town and maybe going up in the twisties every now and then I would consider getting a Kawasaki Ninja250. But if on the other hand you will be doing a lot of commuting on a freeway and at high speeds, I would go ahead and get the ninja500 if you feel up to the challenge. The ninja250 can do freeway speeds and I know people that commute on them, but they do get blown around a bit more because they are very light weight. Either bike will hold its value really well, and if you decide to sell it in a year or two I bet you will only lose 100-200 bucks in depreciation.

One more thing, the suzuki sv650 also seems like a really tall bike. I got on my friends sv650, and later his sv1000 and they both seemed pretty tall with a high center of gravity. The ninja's on the other hand both have a relatively low center of gravity and are a few inches shorter if memory serves. Anyway, good luck with your decision!

Good luck!

Editor and Owner of BBM

Thanks for the quick reply.

Initially I'd be using it for commuting until I got more comfortable with my skills and the bike itself and then I'd probably be hitting the highway to go who knows where and...ultimately I know I'm going to want to race...But, when I reach the point where my skills are up to going to track days, I probably will be looking at another bike anyway.

I have noticed the 250s seem to hold their value well (assuming you buy used). And there are quite a few. Hard to say on the 500 (ninja or gs) as they are few and far between on craigslist here.

I guess what I ultimately don't get is - a 250 vs a 500. Ultimately, it's me rolling the throttle. Both can go fast enough to kill me. As far as I know, neither can do wheelies (which is a Good thing to me right now). So what truly is the difference between the two with one being recommended over the other? Because of the engine size, is one really more likely to leave me sitting on the street when I roll the throttle a bit too much?

thanks again..

You actually can wheelie both of those bikes, but it requires a little more clutch work than a 600cc bike that will wheelie by just opening the throttle all the way. They are both good bikes though, and the reason I would recommend a 500 over a 250 is if:

1. You plan on doing a lot more freeway riding
2. You think you can handle the increase in HP over the 250

You really can't go wrong with a 250cc bike. In europe they make you start on 125cc bike, so I think a 250cc would be more than enough for a new rider. On the other hand if you want more power and a bike that will last you longer I would recommend the 500. I mean it all comes down to personal preference.

In the end get the bike that speaks to you. Sit on both motorcycles, get a feel of the seating position, see what feels comfortable and natural to you. Chances are once you do, your decision will be made much easier. Just always have respect regardless of which machine you decide on.

One more thing, generally I think that you will be able to take a 250 to its limits on the street with enough practice. With the 500 that is debatable, and I really don't think you can ride a 600cc bike to its full potential on the streets. With a 600cc bike you need to take it to the track if you plan on riding the hell out of it. So I guess ask yourself this question: Would you rather be driving a slow motorcycle fast, or a fast motorcycle slow?

I hope that helps, although it looks like I have rambled a bit lol.

Editor and Owner of BBM

I didn't realize you could wheelie a 250ninja!? Well, hopefully I will never unintentionally prove that you can.

Anyway, thank you for the advice. It does help a lot.

Thanks also for the site. The comment responses, info on it, etc is great. And...with a lot of forums, it's supposed to be veterans advising newbies...and while it is that, often the advice comes with mocking and insults. This site is a welcome change to that.


This isn't me, but I just thought I'd show you a video of someone doing a wheelie on a 250 :)

Editor and Owner of BBM

You just have to willing to thrash the clutch and you can wheelie anything over 50cc.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

oh oh well in the bike world theres no sex involved theres no men or women and bikes don't forget, you are the one who must be in control at all times is this or no control it all unless you are talking about small minute mistakes witch all bikes can somewhat forgive you for. I can see that you are starting right by buying a lighter bike that should always match the rider by size/weight and if you have not ridden a bike before i will recommend help from some one with experience for example many people that ride bikes make mistakes too soon and have accidents this is what takes them out off the streets most of the common errors are: wheelies by accident!, slipping on curves when trying to save a curve taken too fast and end up driving off in to the contention wheel if any and another problem that could happen is driving too close to other cars the car in front of you slams on the breaks and with the anti skid can easily out break you and you just smash in to them this is specially true on wet pavement.


I took the MSF course a few months ago. The only prior riding experience I had before the MSF course, was a small amount of dirtbike experience on my father in law's dirt bike and riding around the block a few times on an old friends Norton in like '95.

In the MSF course, they put me on a Honda Rebel 250cc. This was a super easy bike to start out with. It wasn't threatening AT ALL.

I passed my motorcycle license test with flying colors and began looking around the internet for beginner bikes. I KNEW I didn't want a Rebel 250 especially after giving my brother in law such a hard time about his :) Oh so many jokes at the office (we work together).

I knew I wanted something I wouldn't get bored of immediately and also something that would eventually prepare me for a 600 super sport. A Ninja 250r crossed my mind for a brief second until I realized that these things are redlining in top gear around 90mph. On the highway there are times when you NEED torque. Passing slow cars quickly etc.. torque can even help you avoid an accident! I couldn't go with a bike that I felt was unsafe on the highway.

250's were out. 500's? Maybe I'm a snob but I just didn't like the look of ANY of the 500's I saw.

In the end, it was down to the Ninja 650r or the Suzuki SV650s. If you do a quick google search on say.. "ninja 650r vs sv650s", you'll get a bunch of links that all seem to favor the SV. So.. that kind of settled me on the SV650s.

I ended up finding this awesome deal on craigslist for an '02 sv650s for $2395.

Let me tell you.. There is a huge difference between what it felt like riding that Ninja 250 Rebel vs that Suzuki SV650s :)

The first thing you'll notice is that just hopping on the thing.. it's more intimidating than the rebel. It has a much higher seat height which put me on the balls of my feet whereas I was flat-footing it on the rebel. This was something I didn't even really think about.

The torque on the SV650s was also alot more than that rebel. I was also alot more fond of the sv650's GROWL. Before I left the dealer, he told me that the throttle/clutch was alot more GRABBY than what I was used to. I didn't know what he meant at first, but it didn't take long to figure it out.

On my SV650s, the throttle can be used almost like a brake. When you let go of the throttle, you don't just coast.. it GRABS and slows you down almost like you hit the brakes. This is what he meant. So on my bike, you have the front/rear brake and letting go of the throttle as your brakes. Holding the clutch in lets you slow down by coasting..

In the MSF course and during the test - everything is done in a giant parking lot.

Your first ride home on your new bike is NOT in the parking lot :) You get to put all that crap you learned in MSF to use. So not only is it your first time using those skills in real world traffic (rush hour in my case) but this was my first time on a bike this powerful.

I ended up doing great. I didn't take the highway home. I took all the side streets. From Mesa to the top of North Phoenix (roughly 45 miles).

The next week or so I would come home from work and go out on my bike. I'd just take it out on side streets and around the neighborhood at first. Getting used to dealing with local traffic and also the torque and speed of my bike in about 4th gear.

After a week of this, I took it on the freeway. I was nervous :) This quickly went away, though.

Merging into traffic on a bike is the same as merging into traffic on a car, really. I don't know why I thought it was going to be different. I guess it's a bit different because in a car you can sometimes bully your way in whereas with a bike.. you don't really have that option.

I've only had my bike about a month and a half but have already put about 1000 miles on it. It had 10k when I bought it. The funny thing is.. I'm already considering upgrading to what I really wanted.. a 600cc super sport. It's not that I'm bored of my bike in any way. It's awesome, it's paid for. Here I go being picky again.. I just don't like the look of the sv650 hehe. I really like the blue/white or grey/white gsxr's.

My rational: I eventually want to be doing the track day thing.. alot. I started taking these courses that teach you to be a better rider and are geared towards racing. (www.aztrackdays.com) They had this suspension clinic thing where they kind of tune your bike to your weight and adjust all your inputs and everything for you. The SV650's suspension apparently isn't the best. The front-end dips down if you push on it. This is apparently not good for racing as stopping quickly will put too much weight on the front wheel since it has nothing to really absorb it. It was going to be between $350 and $450 to get this fixed. On top of that, I bought the bike with a small dent in the gas tank and a seat that needs to be replaced. Plus I don't like the naked look and was already looking at fairing kits for the bike.

Fairing kit: $450
Paint/Install of fairing kit: ??? not even sure where to get this done?
Seat: $150ish OEM or $250ish for a nice seat upgrade
Replacement Gas Tank: $450

I already put $500 into getting new tires and having them installed on top of replacing the stock bulbs with some really bright PIAA's after the first night I took it out and noticing how dim the bulbs were.

$2395 + $500 + $100 = $2995 spent on the bike so far and another $1000ish to get it where I wanted.

Basically $4000 can get me a used gsxr 600 that I wont need to do ANYTHING on.

I'm already comfortable on my SV650s. Everything I hear from people about a first bike says that once you have reached that comfort level, your basically GOOD.

So I got my SV650s up on craigslist :) Wish me luck! Good luck with your first bikes everybody.

I put about 65,000 miles on my '99 SV, rode it to California from Minnesota, twice, and toured most of the country (west of here) on it. I'd still be on it, if Suzuki hadn't come out with the V-Strom 650. My 2004 has 37,000 miles and will get another 10k this year.

"Feeling comfortable" isn't a bad thing. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous and you are never "GOOD." If you believe that, you are an accident looking for a place to happen. "Feeling GOOD" also isn't a sign that you're ready to jump up to a liter or a four. The seat on the GSXR is a board. You'll be going through tires a lot faster than on the SV; chains, sprockets, and fuel, too. I know two guys who pulled gauges, lights, and plates from their SVs, put soft tires on the bikes, took them to the track, and three years later they are still a long ways from "reaching that comfort level." The SV is plenty fast for most anyone. Any fool can go fast, straight. I know two guys who will fry your ass on a track on stock SVs and they don't think they are fast at all. I know one fast guy on a 1980's 250 race bike who will lap you on any Midwest track you pick in 5 laps or fewer. It's not the bike that makes you slow, it's your technique.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

I've been looking for a good bike to start on, but I have been frustrated. I am a 6'1" guy that weighs in at about 185 or so and it seems like every bike that I look at that is recommended as being good for beginners and not too tricky is so small I feel cramped when I put my feet on the pegs. What can I do? Am I to buy one that is not as "beginner friendly" that feels comfortable, or should I go for one that is "easy to handle" that does not fit me very well. Or is there another bike out there that I might be able to get a hold of that would be big enough and yet still be beginner friendly

I would really recommend a dual sport for tall people, in fact even average height people sometimes have a tough time riding dual sports because they are so high! Check out this bike: http://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/suzuki-drz-400-sm-review

If dual sports aren't your thing maybe see if you will fit on an SV650, those bikes I feel are pretty tall. Unfortunately you are most likely going to feel cramped on a lot of sport bikes, that means sitting on a lot of bikes to get one that feels right for you.

Editor and Owner of BBM

For comparison, the DRZ400 has a seat height of 35 inches while a Ninja 250 has a seat height of only 29.3 inches. In the world of motorcycles even 1 inch can make a huge difference in comfort. :)

Editor and Owner of BBM

Ben's right, it's a lovely bike, great for a tall guy and still a good beginner's bike that you can grow into, if you've ridden somewhat before. Dual sports with their taller wheels are harder to push into a turn, so they like to stay upright, which is confidence inspiring. Plus they are light, and they are geared to be quick! Put street tire on it like I did my XT225, and you've got a cheap quick city SuperMoto. :D

A friend whose advice on motorcycles I respect has both a Magna 750 and a DRZ 400. When I asked for his opinion on a good starter bike he recommended the Magna, stating that he thought the DRZ was too much bike for a beginner. His specific reason was that the throttle on the Magna was more forgiving.

On his advice I bought a 10 year old Magna 750. I don't have my endorsement yet so I haven't ridden it other than a little bit around a parking lot to ensure that I could handle the bike at low speeds. But the seller did me a huge favor: he put me on the back and tore off down the road to show me exactly what kind of acceleration and stopping power this bike had. It terrified me, and made sure that I had a healthy respect for this bike's capabilities. It also made me certain that I am going to be spending a lot of time learning basic skills.

And just to be clear, the choice in bike isn't based entirely on machismo. Right now, in my area, 250cc bikes are hard to find and sell at a premium. But yes, machismo, and the fact that the bike is gorgeous, played a factor in the purchase.

I often tell older, tall guys to look into DP bikes, for the leg room.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

Hi everyone.

First of all thank you very much for the great website. I enjoyed reading it. I am a new rider and have been riding for 5 months and have about 5000 miles of practice. I only have a motorcycle and commute with it every day. Freeway 101 or 280 in Bay Area are routine parts of my path every day. In the weekend I usually ride to other cities around for fun.

I have a Suzuki GZ 250. It is the best bike ever (for me). Although I have never ridden bigger bikes, I can see it when I ride with other friends in downtown. What I like about the size of my bike is its weight. If you are planning to ride in urban area with an average speed between 35 up to 55, then a small bike is the best option. I can stop my bike completely and wait for 10 seconds at a stop sign or a traffic light without putting my foot on the ground. Ask a guy with a +600 cc bike to do the same!!!

In my opinion, 600+ bikes are great for riders with a higher level of skill than I do. My weight is 190 lbs and my bike weighs about 300 lbs. So, basically the ratio of my weight to bike weight is around 64%. If I ride anything bigger, this ratio decreases. So why is this number important?!! Because when the bike almost weights as much as you do, you can feel the reaction of the bike to any small movement you make very fast and significant. This will help you to find the best position to control the bike. Also, since the bike is light, it is very easy to change your posture and improve the bike control rapidly. In a simple language, when the bike has the same size that you do, it talks to you more clearly (like friends at the same age!)

In addition, horsepower is not the neccesary for someone like me. As a new rider, I need to learn how to make judgment about my speed and road condition and other drivers, and also how I position myself on the bike for turns or quick stops without focusing on other more advanced details like throttle control. Making mistakes and even falling the bike is part of the process of learning about the bike and the rider's limit. Last week, I dropped my bike in a tight turn, because a FedEx trailer crossed a double yellow line in the middle of the turn (from the other side) because its front tire exploded and it block my lane completely (About 30 feet ahead of me). I just had time to straighten up the bike and brake as hard as I can. And yes, I laid down the bike, but I stopped 9 feet before the trailer. There is no doubt for me, that if I had a larger bike with my current level of skills, I could not straighten the bike quickly enough to perform a quick stop. My bike was damaged about 200$ or even less. I was able to stand up and to ride my bike to work right after the accident with out any mechanical problem or physical problem. But I would imagine, if a +600 cc landed on my ankle, I would prefer to stay home for few days before riding my bike.

So, my conclusion is, I think there are so many things that new riders like me can learn and enjoy from a motorcycle, that horsepower would definitely goes to the bottom of my current list.

Thanks for your time.

Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with a 250cc motorcycle! One thing you didn't mention is I bet the 250 is much easier to lane split with than a 600cc bike, although you might not be doing too much of that in the beginning, once you do start learning I bet your bike will help.

Editor and Owner of BBM

You are absolutely right. Actually, since I commute with my bike everyday in freeways, I do split lanes when the average speed of the cars is below 35 mph. My bike is very light and narrow. Also it is not loud, and it does not piss(!) off people when I pass them.

When I wanted to buy my bike, I did some research and talked to few veteran riders. At the beginning, I liked to get a big fast bike. The veteran riders taught me a valuable lesson. It is not important how fast I can go in one ride, it is important how long I can joyfully ride without putting my life in a great risk. If you like riding for years, riding a small bike for a year does not make any difference compared to years of riding big bikes in future. I like to ride, and I want to do it in perfect health years after year. As a new rider, I have plenty of time to explore riding and moving up to bigger bikes. There is no rush for me!

In addition, I think having a passion to ride fast bikes for novice riders is not bad. However, today's traffic is very challenging and it is very easy for a new rider like me to make a mistake and finish the riding career. To those new riders, who like to practice riding fast bikes, I would suggest going to race tracks. The environment is very safe, and the riders are so open to assist new riders learning the correct techniques. And the most important point about riding on a track, when you lean your bike, there is no 18 wheeler truck waiting for you after the turn, so you can push your limits safely and enjoy high speeds.


Anyone have any thoughts about this bike? I've taken the MSF course but don't have very much experience outside of that. I'm a heavy guy.. about 265 lbs and 6 feet tall. Would the Vulcan 500 be a good beginner bike? Do I need to buy something bigger because of my size? I'd really appreciate any feedback I can get from experienced riders. I'm looking to buy a bike very soon but would like to make the right decision. Thanks.

Check out our review of the Vulcan 500 LTD. http://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/kawasaki-vulcan-500-ltd-review There are lots of comments of people in your similar situation, and the bottom line is the vulcan is a very capable motorcycle and it won't have any trouble getting you places in a hurry. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin

Editor and Owner of BBM

I have been riding for 100,000+ miles and my first bike was a vulcan 800, and far too small for me. You will probably feel like a circus bear on a 500. I currently ride a vulcan 1500 classic, great ride, I love it. Seems as though the article is focused more on sport bikes than cruisers. Sport bikes have a much faster 1/4 mile, red line limit (11-12,000 RPM vs. a cruiser at 5,500-6000 RPM). Bottom line they are built for speed and acceleration, cruisers are built for people who just want to enjoy the ride. both bikes have their place and I do love riding my buddy's Hayabusa every now and again and I certainly would not recommend something with that much power for a begginner. Bottom line, if you are shopping cruisers, I would highly recommend getting one that you feel comfortable sitting on in the dealership and has good suspension.

Since you have been riding for 100,000 miles I am going to assume that means you have been riding for at least a few years, if not a decade or more. Older larger displacement motorcycles (like those built in the early 90's and late 80's) are much more forgiving compared to modern day equivalents. The vulcan 500 is based off the Ninja 500 engine, and the Ninja500 is considered a 'sports bike', therefore even though you are getting the look of a cruiser when you buy the vulcan, you are actually getting as much power as a 500cc sportbike. One thing that is harder for veteran riders to get their heads around is how difficult it is for some people to learn throttle control and to not get in over their heads. It floors me when I see new riders on 600cc sportbikes that can barely control their acceleration at all. This leads to jerky starts and stops, and in the worst scenarios a crash (just check youtube if you don't believe me!). For me easing out the clutch and twisting the throttle is second nature and it seems completely easy, but for newbies it is very very hard. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin

Editor and Owner of BBM

Cruisers are mediocre choices for beginners. Yes, they are stable. Yes, they have a low seat height, which can provide false comfort. They don’t' stop, turn, accelerate, or handle well. Cruisers are the rocking chairs of motorcycling. “Enjoying the ride” is a nice catch-phrase, but it’s more important that you focus on the road and its hazards. If you want scenery, take the train.

Sport bikes may not be the right choice for a beginner, but dual purpose bikes and standards (like the GS) are a good place to start.

You can’t get much information about fit sitting on a bike on a dealer’s floor. I’ve never heard of a cruiser with a decent suspension.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

Have you heard anything about the Kawi Versys? I've read a couple reviews and they seem to highlight how balanced it is an how smooth the power delivery is. It seems like a relatively solid bike, but it is 650cc.

I've been looking seriously at the Versys as a possible first bike myself. Horsepower and power band seem to be extremely similar to the Suzuki SV650. In other words, the bike is supposed to be tuned for low end torque with a very linear powerband. Since the SV650 is a recommended beginner bike for some people, I don't see any reason why the Versys shouldn't be either.

It is a tall bike, and if you are built like me, 6'1" with long legs, that is a good thing. I had a chance to sit on one, and fit/feel for me was very good. Was able to plant both feet on the ground, seat overall felt good, was able to reach all controls, and it balanced very well... in fact I could actually balance on it standing still! LOL! I would rate it about 8/10... reason is that because it is tall, it isn't the easiest bike to throw my leg over, and also because my gut rubs against the fuel tank (yes, I'm a big guy).

It does have a lot going for it... and even though I am predisposed towards cruisers, for me this bike makes a lot of sense. For one thing, I've discovered that I can't sit comfortably on most sportbikes. Second, I live in an area with a little of everything... highways with high speed limits, lots of hills and twisties, around town driving, old logging roads and even normal roads that have been neglected. Since the Versys has been touted as a "jack-of-all-trades", it should really shine in an area like this.

what do you think would be a good second bike if you started off on a 250 or 500 ninja, and you had been riding that for about a year and a half, but you felt comfortable on it. and was ready to move up to a bigger bike.

Are you really ready? What do other bikes have to offer that the ninja 500 doesn't? Great speed, sure, but along with that comes danger. Better look? You can't see the bike when you're sitting on it. So what makes you want to switch? Just because you have the experience doesn't mean you should. What is your motivation?

~Not your average hairless monkey

A great second bike is a Suzuki SV650, it provides lots of power, is a bit heavier than the 500 but it can still rail in the turns. If you are really super comfortable on the ninja 250/500 then maybe consider getting a 600cc sportsbike like a Yamaha r6, honda f4i, or a Kawasaki ZX6r. Out of all of those I would probably recommend the f4i (not the RR), or maybe the kawasaki ZZR which is a 600cc sportsbike with a more upright position. In the end it really depends on what you are comfortable with. I wouldn't suggest going beyond 750cc's for your second bike though. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin

Editor and Owner of BBM

thanks. i think that i like the ZZR the best.

You don't know what your talking about. Giving a 600 cc motorcycle lots of throttle will not automatically result in a wheelie let alone flip the bike, especially a stock one. I have +4 on my rear sprocket on my R6 and only when I really get on it from 1st to 2nd will it come up a little. It also comes up when I rev it up in 2nd and pop the clutch but thats a different story!

It's not about whether it will pop a wheelie when you give it throttle. It's about the experience level. With a lot of good lower CC bikes its a crime not to start out something smaller for a first bike. I wouldn't want to learn on a larger bike until I know I could handle it, Right now with 3 weeks of riding under my belt i am still not sure I could handle it.

~Not your average hairless monkey

Seriously? You want to claim that you can't power-wheelie a stock 600? What about this:

This is a GSX-R600, engine and sprockets are stock. This is coming onto the opening straight at Pacific Raceways, wide open in 1st gear without slipping/popping the clutch. It happens EVERY lap.


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